You did your research and decided that you wanted to buy a Toyota. You shopped around, checked out the different features, and test drove some sweet rides. Now, you have narrowed it down to the two vehicles you like best and need to know, should I buy a Camry or a Rav4?
If money is your prime concern, the Camry, with its cheaper starting price and higher MPG might be the better option for you. However, if off-roading, towing, and space are what you are looking for, the RAV4 might be more your style.
Keep reading to learn more about how each vehicle compares in areas such as design, fuel efficiency, safety, and even which one is cheaper to insure.
Design is one of the most obvious differences between these two vehicles and may play a significant role in your decision. Launched in 1982, the Toyota Camry is a well-rounded, 4-door sedan. On the other hand, the Toyota Rav4, which first hit the market in 1996, was one of the world’s first crossover SUVs. Interestingly, the name RAV4 is an abbreviation of its full name “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive”.
Which one is better? It depends on what you like. Many drivers like the look and feel of the crossover vehicle. They get the fuel efficiency of a sedan with the capabilities of an SUV, such as a large cargo area and towing capabilities. However, there are those who hate the top-heavy design of the crossover (even though manufacturers have come a long way in fixing this design flaw) and prefer the quiet comfort of a sedan.
While the design is often the first thing people look at in a vehicle, the price is a close second. Although prices will fluctuate depending on where you live and where you buy your vehicle, you can find some basic information about the price of each vehicle below.
If you are interested in buying a new 2022 model, you will find 13 trims available for the Toyota Camry with prices ranging from $25,295 — $35,720. Additionally, buyers interested in a Toyota Camry Hybrid will find 5 trims available with prices ranging from $27,380 — $32,820. If you decide to shop used, you can expect to spend anywhere from $4,025 to $33,498 for a Toyota Camry, with the average price being $22,821 according to CarGurus current price trends.
If you are interested in buying a new 2022 model RAV4, you will find 12 trims available with starting prices that range from $26,525 — $37,575. Additionally, if you are in the market for a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, you will find 6 trims available with prices ranging from $29,075 — $37,575. There are currently only 2 trims available to buyers for the RAV4 Prime, with starting prices of $39,800 and $43,125. If you decide to shop used, you can expect to spend anywhere from $5,389 to $36,204 for a Toyota RAV4, with the average price being $26,918 according to CarGurus current price trends.
|Vehicle||Average Starting Price New||Average Price Used|
While gas prices fluctuate depending on the economy and season, most drivers will agree that it costs more to fill your vehicle’s tank today than it did ten years ago. Hopefully, we will be able to ditch gas for good in the future, but for now, fuel efficiency is still a major factor in the decision to buy a car.
The Toyota Camry has always been a frontrunner in terms of fuel efficiency, and with most vehicles getting anywhere from 22 to 39 MPG (and some Hybrid models getting up to 53 MPG), it is still one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market today.
While the Camry has always been revered for its fuel efficiency, the RAV4 does well to hold its own in this category as well. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. Drivers can expect basic models to get between 25 and 35 MPG, with some Hybrid models getting upwards of 41 MPG. Also, it is worth noting that the prime model offers a plug-in hybrid that can help drivers get up to 94 MPG.
|Car||City MPG||Highway MPG||Combined|
|Camry||22 – 28 MPG||31 – 39 MPG||28 – 32 MPG|
|Camry Hybrid||44 – 51 MPG||47 – 53 MPG||46 – 50 MPG|
|RAV4||25 – 27 MPG||32 – 35 MPG||28 – 32 MPG|
|RAV4 Hybrid||41 MPG||38 MPG||38 – 41 MPG|
|RAV4 Prime||Est 38 MPG||Est 94 MPG||Between 38 – 94 MPG|
Toyota announced in 2017 that it would move to hybrid, hydrogen-powered, and electric for all its vehicles by 2030. In 2022 all Toyota models are available in a hybrid model, however, Toyota predicts now that 30% of its vehicles in 2030 will still be ICE.
Toyota has an EV range but believes that hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell technology will work better for consumers going forward. They feel that the EV is not going to suit all customers going forward.
In Europe Toyota no longer sells diesel or gasoline-only cars. From 2022 all-new models offered will be hybrid or electric.
Both the Camry and the RAV4 win the size category in separate ways. They both seat up to five people; and while the Camry offers more passenger room, the RAV4 offers a higher ground clearance, significantly more cargo room, and a towing capacity that the Camry does not offer.
|Features||2022 Camry LE||2022 RAV4 LE AWD|
|Engine||2.5 L||2.5 L|
|Seating||Up to 5||Up to 5|
|Trunk Space||15.1 Cubic Feet||37.6 Cubic Feet|
|Ground Clearance||5.7 Inches||8.4 – 8.5 Inches|
|Towing Capacity||Not Recommended||Starting at 1,500 Lbs.|
Safety is an important fact to consider when buying a vehicle, especially if you have a large family, and as far as cars go, Toyota has some of the safest vehicles on the market. Both vehicles offer many of the same safety features, such as Toyota Safety Sense, Star Safety System, Blind Sport Monitoring, and Rear and Cross Traffic Alert. However, the Camry has received better safety scores overall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently gave the 2022 Toyota Camry a perfect five out of five safety rating, with five stars in the rollover crash, side crash, and frontal crash test. While the 2022 RAV4 also earned a perfect five out of five safety rating, with five stars in the side crash test, it only received four stars in both the frontal and rollover crash test.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave ratings for both vehicles. The 2022 Camry scored Gs (Good) for everything except headlights and passenger restraints, with the biggest issue being the fact that during testing, the kinetic dummies head often slipped into a gap created between the side and front airbag. However, it received superior ratings in the frontal crash tests. While there was limited information available for the 2022 RAV4, the 2021 RAV4 scored Gs in most areas but performed poorly when it came to headlights and side-crash tests.
As far as reliability goes, both the Camry and the RAV4 are considered extremely reliable vehicles with both ranking 3rd in their class for reliability. However, it is worth noting that the RAV4s J.D. Power reliability scores have somewhat decreased since 2013, while the Camrys have increased or remained the same.
Are Toyota Camrys Reliable?
Overall, RepairPal has given the Toyota Camry a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it 3rd out of 24 for midsize cars. Additionally, J.D. Power, which ranks cars based on the unbiased opinions of verified car owners, has given the 2022 Toyota Camry a reliability rating of 82/100. Additionally, they have consistently scored other Camry years at between 81 and 89 since 2010, with the 2017 Toyota Camry having the best reliability score of 89/100.
Are Toyota RAV4s Reliable?
According to RepairPal, the Toyota RAV4 has a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it 3rd out of 26 for compact SUVs. This places it neck in neck with the Toyota Camrys RepairPal score. Additionally, while there is not yet a reliability rating for the 2022 RAV4, J.D. Power has consistently given the RAV4 a reliability rating of between 79/100 and 85/100, with the 2010 and 2013 RAV4s having the best reliability score of 85/100.
|Vehicle||RepairPal Rating||Average J.D. Power Rating||Most Reliable Year|
|Camry||4.0 out of 5.0||83/100||2017 with a score of 89/100|
|RAV4||4.0 out of 5.0||82/100||2010 and 2013 with a score of 85/100|
In addition to reliability, people want to know how long a vehicle is going to last them. Toyota Camry owners can expect to enjoy anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 miles of use, and many drivers have reported going over 300,000 miles with their Camry. Likewise. RAV4 owners can expect to get anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 miles of use, which places it just a bit lower than the Camry.
However, it is worth noting that these numbers reflect estimated mileage, but how many miles you get from your vehicle will depend on how well the vehicle is maintained.
|Camry||200,000 to 300,000|
|RAV4||200,000 to 250,000|
Researching the most common problems for each vehicle is a smart way to decide which vehicle is the better choice. For example, one vehicle may look better in the short term, but if it is likely to need a lot of major repairs in the future, it may not be the best choice in the long term. We did some digging and found the most common problems for both the Camry and the RAV4, and you can find a list of each of these below.
|Common Issue||Estimated Mileage||Average Repair Cost|
|Excessive Oil Consumption||97,500||$2,420|
|Bluetooth Echos During Calls||N/A||May need to update the software.|
|Common Issue||Estimated Mileage||Average Repair Cost|
|Transmission Issues||3,300||$20,000 (However, it typically falls under warranty because it shows up early)|
|Excessive Oil Consumption||105,750||$1000 – $5000|
|EVAP System Problems||106,403||$843 – $1,137|
|Oxygen Sensor Failure||247,047||$323 – $346|
|Radiator Fan Replacement||146,000||$783 – $862|
While there are much bigger issues to consider when buying a car, sometimes it all comes down to how much it will cost to insure each vehicle. So, we have investigated that too! Interestingly, the RAV4 is quoted as costing less than the Camry with most large insurance companies.
Although the cost of insurance hinges on many things, such as your age, location, and driving habits, it can vary widely depending on the vehicle you are insuring. The typical Camry owner can expect to spend around $1,546 a year on insurance, which is about $129 a month. While the average RAV4 driver can expect to spend about $1,480 a year on insurance, which is about $123 a month. However, if the driver is under 20, those prices quickly go up to about $3,550 a year for a Camry and $3,386 a year for a RAV4.
After investigating several aspects of each car, the choice between a Toyota Camry and a Toyota RAV4 seems to boil down to this—do you want to save money with the cheaper, slightly more fuel-efficient Camry, or do you need a vehicle with more cargo space and off-roading capabilities?
The Toyota Camry is the perfect car for a budget-weary family who wants a vehicle that is safe and will last them for years to come. However, the RAV4 is more suited towards a more adventurous lifestyle and would work great for someone who does a lot of outdoor living or a family who needs the extra cargo space.
You may find the following posts helpful:
Should I buy a used Honda CRV?
Should I get a hatchback or SUV?
How long do Toyota Camry’s last?
- About the Author
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.